So should the Muslim community be "allowed" to build a mosque or religious center two blocks away from the former World Trade Center site? Actually President Obama gave us the answer. Numbers of times in these pages I have been critical about some of Obama's comments and policies, mostly dealing with economic issues, but this time he got it exactly right!
Obama said that the government should not interfere in this decision because it is a question of religious freedom. But he also said that, under the circumstances, building a mosque or religious center in that place would be insensitive, and the Muslim community should show the grace to decide to put it somewhere else. This may be a subtle distinction, but it is a critically important one.
First of all, this issue presents a wonderful teaching opportunity to show the world that we really do have religious freedom in the United States — and make no mistake, the world is watching! Because the Muslims own the land and the zoning is in their favor, they have the clear legal and constitutional right to build the center on this site, and that should end the government's involvement. The idea of "I support religious freedom, but not in my back yard" is not what the Bill of Rights stands for.